ANDY Ritchie says he does not blame supporters for taking a stand against Latics owner Abdallah Lemsagam.

Fans' group Push The Boundary have launched a petition and penned an open letter to the Moroccan urging him to sell the club after a turbulent three years that have seen Oldham slip down the Football League ladder, while there have been numerous issues off the field.

The petition secured more than 1,500 signatures within the first 24 hours of being launched as it gained momentum.

And although club legend Ritchie is unsure what difference the revolt would make in the eyes of Lemsagam, he says supporters are right to take action, adding that he was saddened to see the relationship between the club and the fan base so fractured.

“It saddens me, of course it does, yes. I want only the best for Oldham,” said the former forward, who played for the club during the halcyon days of the 1990s before going on to become manager at Boundary Park in the late 90s.

"I think fans have always had an impact, just sometimes they haven't spoken out.

"Let them sign the petition and see where it gets them.

"If they think it might do something whatever their aims are at the end of it, we've seen it happen just recently with the (European) Super League with the fans have a major say in the U-turn of many clubs.

"All power to their elbow. If it gets them where they want to be then great.

"They've only got the club at heart, the fans. They obviously want to get it back to where I want to see it for Oldham as well.”

Optimistically, Ritchie does not feel the situation between the owner and fans is beyond repair.

"I don't think there's ever a point of no return, I've always felt that. But from what I've heard from fans that I know it's going to be a long, hard road to getting that back,” said the 60-year-old, who cited the 50+1 rule that is in operation in Germany’s Bundesliga as a potential solution for Latics going forward and forging a union with fans and owners.

Members – the actual fans themselves – enjoy a 51 per cent voting majority when it comes to any decision making process.

Commercial investors can make suggestions, but unless fans are on board, nothing can happen.

"There’s this 50+1 thing that people are looking at to have more control over the club,” he continued.

“I don't know whether that would be a good idea for Oldham now.

"Whether the owner would be accepting of that I doubt very much, I think he wants the sole ownership of it.”

It is not a situation that Ritchie says he would ever find himself in, even if he could afford it.

"Certainly if you've not got multi-millions it must be a big drain on your finances. Even if I had multi-millions I don't think I'd get involved in football the way it is at the moment, it's changed so much,” he continued, noting how unrecognisable the club is from his heyday.

"It is unfortunately, but that's just the way things are.

"It's definitely changed and I think football's changed anyway from when I was playing obviously. It's 30-odd years since I was at Oldham.

“The club hasn't stayed where it wanted to be but that was probably inevitable with the finances.”

But Ritchie feels they should be aiming to climb back up the ladder.

“I want them to be back as high as they can be and challenging for everything, but I'm realistic and I know that's not going to be the case for the very foreseeable future, if ever,” he said.

"Let's hope they can get a promotion in the next few years and get up into at least League One and stay there, and just stabilise and be a good football club to be a part of as a player and be a great place to go and watch football again.”